Almost anyone can take off on a project or idea empowered by inspiration and maintain its discipline for a short period of time, but what we want is lifestyle change, and there are a few principles that help us to sustain change if we remind ourselves of how they work. One of the key principles I learned in homeschooling is that “less is more”.
I love the “less is more” principle! I’ve learned over the years that it works in just about every area of my life. Whenever I try to do too much, I regret it. After three years of doing regular school at home, and burning out doing it, I couldn’t believe how much more we got accomplished in the development of real learning skills when I switched to a much more reasonable expectation for my kids’ table-time lessons. But I really had to scale way back. It was like flipping a switch from on to off. I stopped formal disciplines for a season just so I could breathe for awhile and observe my kids. I waited for inspiration for how to add formal disciplines back into our daily routine; I really just needed an entirely new approach.
Two Practical AND Powerful Changes
I realized that the meaningless lessons of the first three years of school at home actually served to keep learning separate from real life, so the transference of skills to real life applications never seemed to happen. So when I made changes to my routine, I made another change as well that served to reduce the need for such a large academic load. What I learned to do was so much more effective than what I was doing before. I started to bring my children’s writing and math skills into their real life activities, AND bringing their real life activities to the table for formal application of learning skills. I was amazed at how much better they learned their skills and were able to build upon them on their own. The content was meaningful to them so of course they would make the needed connections from information and knowledge to real-life application.
My New Routine
As to my new routine, I began with four days a week, less than an hour a day. This proved to be a doable routine that we were able to sustain for many years. In fact, my kids began to own it for themselves and expanded our new routine into their productive free time as they matured and were able to research and carry their skills into their delight-directed, free-time pursuits. (Read more about it in the book, Develop a Lifestyle Routine.)
I learned after only a few months of my new approach that a little bit goes a long way when you’re consistent. I kept reminding myself and receiving this encouraging word from the Lord to me during that transitional period: “line upon line, here a little there a little”. It was exciting to see real progress made with real learning skills that were meaningful to my kids! I never again wavered about my chosen path. Everything my kids learned stayed with them, and we just kept moving forward, adding line upon line as their skills matured into the next discipline.
Are you still trying to serve false standards by keeping your family’s life fragmented? Serving false standards leads you to try to do too much too fast. Scale way back and stay consistent for a period of time with content that is meaningful to your children, and then only add appropriate amounts of discipline to their load (and yours) as needed after previous disciplines have become second nature. Make sure that what you’ve chosen to take on is both manageable and sustainable for a long period of time. The goal is to instill a lifestyle of good, daily learning habits for true growth and change to have a long-term effect. You WILL begin to experience progress toward a whole-life education like I did!
Here’s How One Mom Is Involving Her Kids—One Area At a Time
“I’m listening to the new Action Steps audio on LOLACHE and just wanted to share my experience. I’m only three months into the L.O.L. process and the first change I made in establishing a routine was to have my 6-, 7-, and 9-year-old help me unload the dishwasher every day. Baby steps. Next, I made a list of five house chores they could help me with and picked one day of the week to do that chore. The five chores, which I call ‘Help Mom Chores,’ are: collect/wash laundry (Monday), fold/put away laundry (Tuesday), clean bathrooms (we have three bathrooms, one for each kid and I help all three until they are all done. Wednesday), vacuum downstairs (Thursday), mop hardwood floors downstairs (Friday). I’m amazed at how well they can clean our bathrooms, since I took the time to show them and then work alongside them! As I discipline myself to get the jobs done, and with enthusiasm and lots of encouragement and thankfulness, the kids are more and more willing to help without complaining. These were really simple first steps and I’m amazed by the effectiveness of starting our routine. The next step is figuring out what Table-time looks like in our family…” ~ Monica Albaugh
Sustaining the Changes You Make
Monica gets the idea! If you’re like every other mom out there who has struggled with keeping a homeschool routine going, just begin with one thing and stay consistent and then add another. We humans have a tendency to think we can do more than we can sustain. However, if you want sustainable changes remember the wisdom from the old moral to the story, “slow and steady wins the race” and “less is more” AND my all time favorite, “line upon line, here a little there a little”!
If you could use some help to become more strategic as you work ON your life, check out our new “Bringing It Home” Seminar series. The Lord wants to help you to experience joy in your family life, and we’re here to point the way.
May the Lord bless you with abundant insights and inspiration for sustainable changes in your lifestyle!
So grateful to be in the Lord’s service,
Marilyn Howshall for Lifestyle of Learning™Ministries
Learn more about the “Bringing It Home” Seminar series by signing up for the article here.
[Posted September 27, 2013]